Experts Say Red Light Therapy Can Reduce Wrinkles and Even Boost Hair Growth—Here Are Our Favorite Devices (2024)

Experts Say Red Light Therapy Can Reduce Wrinkles and Even Boost Hair Growth—Here Are Our Favorite Devices (1)

Red light therapy is everywhere these days, and devices you can use at home put red light therapy at your fingertips. “Studies show red light therapy can stimulate the production of hyaluronic acid, elastin, and collagen, all of which are crucial components for smooth, supple, and firm skin,” says Geeta Yadav, MD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of FACET Dermatology.

She adds that while the way it works isn’t well understood, red light therapy can help support healthier hair growth, too. Last but not least, red light therapy is also beneficial for pain relief. “Red light therapy uses low-level red or near-infrared light to revitalize your body’s repair processes,” explains Priyesh Mehta, DO, a pain medicine specialist at Dayton Outpatient Center and PureMD. “The red light gives your cells a boost of energy promoting tissue repair, calming inflammation, and easing those nagging pains.”

From masks to wands, caps, panels, belts, and blankets, red light is available in a variety of different types of at-home devices to target common beauty and health concerns, including wrinkles, hair loss, and chronic pain. Team Shape already rigorously tested red light therapy masks for their skincare benefits, and ahead, we're taking our research even further with this list of the best red light therapy devices to address concerns you have from head to toe.

Our Top Picks

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Why We Like It: This at-home facial device comes with six attachment heads (including an LED light therapy ring with red and blue lights) so you can customize your treatment.

It’s Worth Noting: There are additional hot and cold rings you can purchase separately for an added cost.

We’re big fans of this do-it-all at-home skin-care gadget, which comes with an LED light therapy ring so you can reap the benefits of red light for smoothing wrinkles and blue light for combatting mild acne. It also includes a microcurrent attachment for firming skin, percussive therapy attachments to relieve tension in your face, jaw, and neck, and a cleansing attachment to remove dirt, oil, and makeup buildup. “When I've tried to add skincare tools into my beauty regimen in the past, it felt like an unnecessary hassle, but the Therabody TheraFace Pro has completely elevated and improved my skin-care routine,” notes our tester. She adds that she loves the customizable features as her skin concerns are always changing due to stress, weather, and hormonal fluctuations.

Why We Like It: This red light therapy device works in just two minutes to diminish the appearance of wrinkles.

It’s Worth Noting: This isn’t a hands-free mask, so you’ll have to hold it when you use it. Plus, it only works with UFO-activated face masks.

We previously tested the second generation of the Foreo UFO, noting how much brighter, tighter, and less inflamed it made our skin look. Now, the brand has released a newer version of its red light therapy mask, the Foreo UFO 3. This handy gadget is meant to be paired with one of the brand’s UFO-activated face masks (there are 14 to choose from with different uses, from brightening to hydrating). Once you securely attach your chosen mask to the device, you can select the LED light mode on the device you’d like to use (red light is one of them, but there are eight total). Then you just massage the mask into your skin in circular motions for 90 seconds to two minutes.

Why We Like It: This red light therapy mask comes with three medical-grade LED light settings (red, blue, and yellow) for less than $50.

It’s Worth Noting: You have to use the device for 15-30 minutes per session (three times a week) to see results, which is longer than other red light masks.

You may have seen this red light therapy device trending on TikTok recently. There’s a very good reason for that: This mask is one of the most affordable options (it clocks in at under $50) and uses medical-grade LED light therapy that gets deep down into the skin to effectively help certain skin issues. The red light setting stimulates collagen production and softens the appearance of wrinkles and pigmentation, the blue light setting helps kill acne-causing bacteria, and the yellow light setting helps soothe irritation and swelling.

Why We Like It: This device allows you to combine the power of wrinkle-smoothing red light and acne-fighting blue light in one treatment.

It’s Worth Noting: The hands-free design means you can sit back and relax while the mask does all the work.

“This one is extremely popular, and for good reason,” says Yadav. “It uses five different wavelengths (blue, amber, red, deep red, and infrared) to target different layers of the skin, all the way down to the dermis, and can address everything from blemishes to skin laxity.” Yadav likes how stylish it looks too, plus the mask is hands-free and designed to conform to your face so it fits comfortably while you’re wearing it during the three-minute treatment sessions.

Why We Like It: It combines four treatments (including red and blue light therapy and microcurrent) into one compact tool.

It’s Worth Noting: For best results, you’ll want to apply the brand’s activating serum (sold separately) so that the tool glides easily over your face.

If you’re looking for a red light therapy device that’s compact and easily fits in your bag, then this handheld wand is the way to go. Our tester liked that it didn’t require you to sit or lie down while using it. This wand offers four different treatments, including red and blue light therapy, microcurrent therapy, facial massage, and therapeutic warmth. It’s meant to be used for five minutes, three to five times a week, to help smooth fine lines and minimize puffiness.

Why We Like It: It’s defined specifically to treat lines on the neck and chest, two areas that are notoriously tricky.

It’s Worth Noting: The brand recommends using its Green Tea Serum in conjunction with this device, so you’ll have to shell out more for that as it’s not included.

Yadav notes that the neck and chest can be very difficult to treat. “Skin laxity of the neck is unavoidable, and lines created from tech neck or side sleeping can be a challenge to address with in-office procedures,” she explains. She likes this at-home red light therapy device, which is designed specifically for the neck and chest because it makes treating these areas pretty simple. All you have to do is cleanse your skin, apply a few drops of CurrentBody Skin’s Green Tea Serum, choose the right strap length, attach the device, and secure it to your neck for a 10-minute, hands-free session. “You can also flip it around and use it on your back, or secure the strap differently to treat further down your chest,” she says.

Why We Like It: This red light therapy device is a discreet way to boost hair growth (it’s worn under a baseball cap for just six minutes a day).

It’s Worth Noting: It’s developed to treat thinning hair and balding due to heredity. If your hair loss is caused by something else, then it won’t work for you.

“I love that this product acts as an incognito treatment—while people would definitely notice if you left the house wearing the majority of LED devices, including products designed for hair loss, this one just looks like a regular baseball hat,” says Yadav. “This also makes it very easy to use.” She notes that some LED scalp devices are combs, which aren’t as straightforward to use as simply putting on a hat, which could make this one more likely that you’ll use regularly. This is important because “hair growth in particular requires real diligence in treatment to see results,” explains Yadav.

Why We Like It: It’s very easy to use—you just pop it into your mouth and hold it for three months.

It’s Worth Noting: In addition to smoothing lip lines, it also helps plump your pucker and enhance your lips’ natural hue.

Lips can show signs of aging like wrinkles, creases, and lack of volume too. Enter this red light therapy device made to be used on your pout. The lip-shaped gadget (how cute!) contains 56 LED red lights to stimulate collagen production in the lips. These lights penetrate the delicate skin of the lips to boost circulation, so you’ll notice fuller-looking lips with enhanced color, in addition to smoother lines.

Why We Like It: You can use this red light therapy panel to tackle skin-care concerns as well as to ease muscle pain.

It’s Worth Noting: It has a lifespan of over 50,000 hours and comes with a three-year warranty.

Beyond masks and wands, panels are another popular form of red light therapy device. This red light therapy panel uses medical-grade red light to help reduce the look of fine lines, stimulate collagen production, and improve an overall more even skin tone and radiant complexion. You can also use this panel to help with muscle aches and pains and improve joint mobility. All you have to do is set it up six to 18 inches away from the intended treatment area and leave it on for up to 15 minutes, depending on what you’re looking to treat.

Why We Like It: You can wear this device anywhere you have pain, including your neck, shoulder, elbow, ankle, knee, or ankle.

It’s Worth Noting: It comes with an adjustable strap, charge case, charge cable, and travel case, so you can take it on the go.

You can use this red light therapy device to lessen joint pain and inflammation caused by a condition (such as arthritis) or stimulate the healing of damaged tissues from a sports injury. With the adjustable strap, you can wear this device almost anywhere you have pain, including your neck, shoulder, back, ankle, elbow, hip, knee, and even your head. It combines red LED light and infrared laser light to powerfully offer pain relief in as little as a five-minute session.

Why We Like It: It’s easy to use on areas where you’re having pain, and it has five brightness settings so you can customize your intensity.

It’s Worth Noting: It only works when it’s plugged in, either with the included power cord or a USB cord, so you have to be sitting near an outlet to use it.

This red light therapy belt is a device intended to be used on large areas of your body where you’re experiencing pain, such as your hip, back, shoulder, waist, or elbow. All you have to do is wrap the belt around the area and wear it for five to 30 minutes, in five-minute increments. You have the option to use red light, infrared light, or a combination of the two for a more powerful pain-relieving treatment. There are five brightness levels, with the highest brightness setting being the strongest and quickest-working.

Why We Like It: It offers a full-body treatment for muscle relaxation, pain relief, and recovery.

It’s Worth Noting: Red light therapy blankets are an expensive investment (this one comes in at over $1,000).

One of the highest-rated red light therapy blankets on the market is this pricey pick from Hooga. The reason why red light therapy blankets cost a pretty penny is that they treat your entire body. This blanket uses 1,800 red and infrared light-emitting diodes to effectively relax your muscles, relieve pain, and help you recover in just a few minutes. Simply slip into the blanket (the red light mat comes with a neoprene outer cover) and choose your intensity level (the brighter the light, the more intense the treatment).

What to Know About Red Light Therapy Devices

  • Benefits: Red light therapy has many potential benefits for skin, hair, and overall health. Most notably, it promotes collagen production for smoother skin and reduces inflammation for pain relief, says Lee Braun, founder and CEO of Perspire Sauna Studio, where professional red light therapy is offered as a treatment. Red light therapy can also help stimulate hair growth, says Yadav. While red light therapy is generally safe, you should always consult with your health care professional before using it, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions, notes Mehta. If you’re pregnant, you should ask your ob-gyn before using any red light therapy device, adds Yadav.
  • Follow Instructions on How to Use: “There are a lot of devices available—from handheld devices to full-body panels,” says Mehta. You’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using whatever device you pick, says Yadav. There are many hands-free options, like masks and belts—for those, all you have to do is pop them on, use the adjustable strap to make sure the fit is comfortable, and chill out for the duration of a session. For wands, you’ll have to do some work passing the device across your skin (likely with the use of an activating serum to prevent friction) for the session duration. For lamps and panels, you’ll have to set them up so that the red light is shining on the intended treatment area.
  • Treatment Duration: Typically, you can use most skin-care devices for up to 20 minutes, says Yadav, while you may be able to use pain relief devices for up to 30 minutes, says Mehta. Some red light therapy devices do work faster and come with different intensity levels. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the right treatment duration for you. “Note that the lights of these devices are often very bright,” adds Yadav. “If you're using yours at night and find you're having trouble sleeping, just use it in the morning instead.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to see results from red light therapy devices?

    For skin-care devices specifically, you’ll likely have to use red light therapy for six to eight weeks to see results, “though you may see changes in your skin sooner than that,” says Yadav. There are other considerations that can effect the immediacy of the results. “Some folks notice improvements after just a few sessions, while others might need more time to feel the benefits,” adds Mehta. “It really depends on factors like the specific condition being treated, the severity of symptoms, and how consistently you use the therapy.”

  • How consistently do you need to use red light therapy devices to see results?

    You’ll also have to keep using the device regularly to maintain the results, Mehta says. For acute injuries or temporary pain flare-ups, you might find that consistent use of red light therapy provides lasting relief even after you stop using the device regularly, says Mehta. “But for chronic conditions, you might need to keep up with your red light therapy routine to maintain those benefits,” he explains.

  • Do I need to use eye protection when using a red light therapy device?

    Red light is not harmful to eyes, though it might be uncomfortable if you're sensitive to light. Consider angling the device away from your eyes to offer protection.

  • How long should a red light therapy session last?

    Typical sessions range from 10 to 20 minutes.

  • Are there any side effects from using red light therapy devices?

    There are no documented side effects from using red light therapy devices, as the treatments are generally well-tolerated. If you experience any itching, sensitivity, or warming sensations, these are usually temporary. If effects persist, you should contact a dermatologist.

Why Trust Shape

Christina Heiser is a health and beauty writer with more than 10 years of experience covering wellness trends and trying products and treatments for different publications. Throughout her career, she’s had the opportunity to test out many high-tech skincare gadgets and receive professional facials from some of the world’s most sought-after dermatologists and estheticians. She’s been an avid user of at-home red light therapy masks for the past two years and currently gets regular facials featuring professional red light therapy every few months. For this red light therapy device guide, she interviewed a variety of experts, including a dermatologist, pain management doctor, and owner of a spa specializing in red light therapy treatment, all of whom are familiar with red light therapy and at-home devices. These experts provided insights into how red light therapy devices work and how to properly use them for the best results.

Experts Say Red Light Therapy Can Reduce Wrinkles and Even Boost Hair Growth—Here Are Our Favorite Devices (2024)
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